Expansion Microscopy with Multifunctional Polymer Dots

Journal: Advanced Materials

Published: 2021-05-14

DOI: 10.1002/adma.202007854

Affiliations: 3

Authors: 8

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Research Highlight

Polymer dots show promise in expansion microscopy

© Beano5/E+/Getty Images

© Beano5/E+/Getty Images

The synapses of neurons and tiny structures within cells have been imaged using a conventional microscope and polymer dots that are three to six times brighter than commercial fluorescence dyes.

The wave nature of light means that conventional optical microscopy cannot image features much smaller than 200 nanometres. Super-resolution microscopy techniques can overcome this limitation but require expensive specialist microscopes.

Another approach is expansion microscopy, which uses swellable gels to physically make specimens larger. It can use normal microscopes, but one problem has been that the fluorescent dyes used tend to degrade.

Now, a team led by researchers at the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in China has shown that multifunctional polymer dots with high brightness can be used to image structures down to roughly 30 nanometres in size.

The team consider that their multicolour polymer dots have great promise for imaging biological samples using expansion microscopy.

Supported content

  1. Advanced Materials 33, 2007854 (2021). doi: 10.1002/adma.202007854
Institutions Share
Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), China 0.56
Peking University (PKU), China 0.25
Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), China 0.19